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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Neighbors, family shocked at shooting death of 92-year-old Flint man

10-30-2012 Michigan:

FLINT, MI -- Police continue to investigate the shooting death Oct. 30 of a man believed to be the oldest homicide victim in recent memory.

Iris Gardner, 92, heard a knock on his door around 2:15 p.m. Tuesday at his home on Race Street near Myrtle Avenue, police said. When he opened the door, someone shot him once in the torso and fled the scene, police said. Police have no suspect information.

Flint Police Capt. T.P. Johnson said he can't remember an older homicide victim in his 27 years with the department.

"Obviously he was no threat to anyone," he said. "This was a random act of violence that did not have any rhyme or reason to it."

Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said Gardner was one of the older homicide victims he's heard of during his time as prosecutor.

"It's terrible, just terrible," Leyton said. "It's very difficult to imagine how a 92-year- old was a threat to anyone."

Gardner's niece, Joann Cooper, 55, of Flint, said her family is shocked that her uncle would die that way.

"I never figured he would get gunned down in his own house," she said. "One part is anger, and the other part is grieving. It's like two emotions wrapped into one."

Detective Robert Dunham said police have very little information to go on and that the crime is disturbing.

"The worst thing about the whole thing is the people that did it aren't talking," he said. "They are out running the streets. If they are willing to kill a 92-year-old, who wouldn't they kill?"

Cooper said her uncle grew up during the Great Depression in a small town in Georgia. He would talk about being so poor that he had to walk to school in his bare feet during the winter, she said.

He came to Flint in the 1950s or 1960s and worked as a supervisor at a junkyard for 30 years, Cooper said. In his older age, he still remained active, continuing to drive, walk around in the neighborhood and do yard work, family said.

"If you would have saw him, you would have thought he was still 78," Cooper said.

He was a World War II veteran and a big fan of the Detroit Tigers who was excited about the team's recent playoff run.

Gardner did have a brush with the law. He was on the state sex offender registry for a 1993 conviction of misdemeanor criminal sexual conduct, fourth degree, according to records. He served 90 days in the Genesee County Jail. Cooper said his family maintains that he was innocent, and his accuser later recanted her story.

Neighbor Elois Thames, 26, said Gardner was a friendly man. She was upset that he would die in a violent manner.

"It's just senseless, he didn't bother anybody," she said.

Cooper said Gardner did not have any children and was the last surviving member of his siblings. Funeral arrangements are being handled at Lawrence E. Moon Funeral Home.

In the meantime, his family will continue to grieve his death.

"It's like somebody ripped out your heart and took it," Cooper said. ..Source.. by David Harris

WNEM TV 5

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Alameda County inmate suspected of killing cell mate in Folsom State Prison

10-19-2012 California:

FOLSOM, Calif. — A convicted sex offender from Contra Costa County was found dead in his prison cell in Folsom this week and his cell mate, a convicted murderer from Alameda County, was suspected Friday of killing him, according to prison officials.

Correctional officers found the 51-year-old inmate from Contra Costa County unresponsive in his cell at California State Prison, Sacramento, just after 9 p.m. Wednesday when prisoners were being counted.

The inmate, whose name is being withheld pending notification of his next of kin, was pronounced dead about 20 minutes later.

The prison's investigative services unit was investigating the death as a homicide, officials said Friday.

Prison officials also said that the man had been in prison since Dec. 10, 2001, and was serving a 25-year-to-life sentence from Contra Costa County for assault with the intent to commit a specific sex act.

They said the 46-year-old suspect has been in state prison since Nov. 9, 1986, and was serving a 17-year-to-life sentence from Alameda County for second-degree murder.

The suspect was being housed in the prison's administrative segregation unit that week pending the completion of the investigation.

Prison officials said California State Prison, Sacramento, houses about 2,600 inmates and employs more than 1,700 staff members.

They said it primarily houses maximum-security inmates serving long sentences and those who have proved to be management problems at other institutions. ..Source.. by KTVU.com

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Contra Costa County inmate killed in prison identified

10-23-2012:

A convicted sex offender from Contra Costa County who was killed in an apparent homicide in his state prison cell in Folsom last week has been identified as 51-year-old Raymond Johnston.

Lt. Tony Quinn, of California State Prison-Sacramento in Folsom, said correctional officers found Johnston unresponsive in his cell just after 9 p.m. Wednesday as prisoners were being counted.

Quinn said medical staff responded immediately and tried to resuscitate Johnston but he was pronounced dead about 20 minutes later.

Quinn said the prison's investigative services unit is investigating Johnston's death as a homicide because there were "obvious signs of trauma" on him, although he declined to elaborate or disclose a cause of death.

He said Johnston's cellmate, a 46-year-old convicted murderer from Alameda County, is suspected of killing Johnson but he declined to release the cellmate's name because of concern that the cellmate could be targeted in prison.

Quinn said the suspect has been in state prison since Nov. 9, 1986, and is serving a sentence of 17 years to life for a second-degree murder conviction in Alameda County.

The suspect is being housed in the prison's administrative segregation unit pending the completion of the investigation.

Quinn said Johnston had been in prison since Dec. 10, 2001, and was serving 25 years to life after being convicted in Contra Costa County of assault with the intent to commit a sex act.

Prison officials said California State Prison-Sacramento houses about 2,600 inmates and employs more than 1,700 staff members.

Quinn said it primarily houses maximum-security inmates serving long sentences and those who have proved to be management problems at other institutions.

He said about 85 percent of the inmates are serving life sentences, and that many have engaged in acts of violence while serving time at other prisons.

Quinn said, "We have some pretty nasty fights here" but that homicides are uncommon, although there were two murders last year. ..Source.. by Bay City News Service

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Death Of Convicted Sex Offender Under Investigation In Otero County

10-14-2012 Colorado:

The body of a registered sex offender was found inside a home outside La Junta Friday night, prompting officials to begin an investigation into the circumstances around his death.

Byron Griffy, 76, was a funeral home director in Fowler, Colo. prior to his 2011 arrest for sexually assaulting a child. Court records indicate Griffy pleaded guilty to the charge, and was sentenced in May of this year. He was put on strict sex offender probation.

The Otero County Sheriff's Office is investigating Griffy's death as suspicious, but will not say if they believe his death is related to his sex assault conviction. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation assisted in processing the scene.

The Sheriff’s Office says an autopsy is scheduled for early next week by the El Paso County Coroner's Office. ..Source.. by KKTV.com

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Cause of death released, family of Byron Griffy want him remembered for his lifelong kindness

New details today in the death of a Fowler man.

We've learned that Byron Griffy died from a gunshot wound to his head.

We spoke to those at the Otero County Sheriff Office who are investigating along with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.

Family members found Byron Griffy dead in a home on his farm one day before his 76th birthday.

"The circumstances surrounding the gunshot wound are still pending," said Otero County Sheriff Chris Johnson.

Griffy did plead guilty to attempted sexual assault on a child several months ago, but his family says too much focus has been placed on that.

"My sisters and I would like you to know that our father was a caring, compassionate, love man who spent his life taking care of others in their time of need," said Amy Griffy, Byron Griffy's youngest daughter.

Many in Fowler told us they always admired Griffy and do not believe he was guilty.

"God knows it," said JH McCuistion, a close friend of Griffy. "He knows the truth of this whole thing, and I feel the same way God does."

Close friends believe he only pled guilty for a lesser charge, so he would be able to see his family more often.

"There will never be anybody to change my mind that Byron Griffy was one of our greatest men to help in our community of Fowler," said McCuistion.

Griffy was described around town as a funeral director who was so giving, those who couldn't afford a funeral had one for free.

He was also President on the school board for many years and always sent a lot of flowers to people in town.

"I had a little surgery a time or two," said McCuistion. "You know, I didn't even tell him I was going to have it, but he found out and he brought me a plant."

Sheriff Johnson says nothing at this time connects Griffy's death to his recent plea.

"We're still investigating," said Sheriff Johnson. "It's still early in the investigation. We're talking to a lot of people." ..Source.. by Lacey Steele



Man Pleads Not Guilty In Murder Of Convicted Sex Offender

5-3-2014:

A Canon City man has pleaded not guilty in death of a convicted sex offender.

Anthony Wright, 43, will go to trial in September for the 2012 death of former funeral home director Byron Griffy. An autopsy showed Griffy died from a gunshot wound to the head.

Griffy, 76, was a funeral home director in Fowler, Colo. prior to his 2011 arrest for sexually assaulting a child. Court records indicate Griffy pleaded guilty to the charge, and was sentenced in May the following year. He was put on strict sex offender probation.

He was found shot to death five months later.

Wright has maintained his innocence, pleading not guilty to first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder on Thursday. He is out on a $250,000 bail. Wright will go to trial in September.

Wright and Griffy knew each other through the funeral home business. ..Source.. by KKTV.com

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Montana State Prison has 2 suspects in murder of inmate

10-8-2012 Montana:

An inmate at the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge was found murdered Sunday evening, authorities reported Monday.

Investigators have two suspects in connection with the death of Danny Lee Hartford. Hartford, 53, was found dead in a cell of a housing unit in the high-security portion of the prison at about 8:10 p.m.

Investigators didn’t release how Hartford was killed, because the investigation continued, according to Linda Moodry of the Montana Department of Corrections.

Hartford was last seen alive during a head count Sunday at about 6 p.m., Moodry said. The two suspects in Hartford’s death are fellow inmates in the prison.

Moodry didn’t release the identities or the status of the suspects.

Moodry described the block of the prison where Hartford was killed as housing offenders at various levels. It’s between the maximum-security and low-security blocks, she said. It houses some general population prisoners and those transferring to the lower-level security block of the prison, she said.

The unit where Hartford was killed is monitored by prison staff and security cameras. However, Moodry said the prison doesn’t have cameras in all the cells at the prison.

“They (the prisoners) are monitored and watched, but unfortunately things like this can happen,” Moodry said.

The last homicide reported at the prison was in September 2011. Shaun Morrison, 30, is accused of beating, choking and cutting another inmate with a weapon fashioned from razor blades. Morrison has pleaded not guilty to deliberate homicide and is scheduled for trial in November.

Hartford was serving 30 years probation from 1997 on two counts of sexual assault out of Lewis and Clark County. He violated the terms of his probation and was ordered to prison in 2010.

The investigation is being handled by the Montana Department of Corrections, the Powell County sheriff’s office and the county attorney’s office. ..Source.. by JOHN GRANT EMEIGH

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Montana prison officials investigate homicide

Officials at the Montana State Prison in Deer Lodge are investigating the death of an inmate as a homicide.

An investigation into the death of Danny Lee Hartford, 53, is ongoing, according to a news release from the Department of Corrections.

Hartford's body was found about 8:10 p.m. in a cell of a housing unit in the high-security portion of the prison. Two inmates are suspects in the death.

Hartford was sentenced to 30 years probation in 1997 on two counts of sexual assault out of Lewis and Clark County. He violated conditions of his probation and a judge ordered him to prison in 2010.

Prison officials did not say how Hartford died. The investigation is being handled by the Montana Department of Corrections, Powell County sheriff’s office and the county attorney’s offices.

The last homicide reported at the prison was in September 2011. Shaun Morrison, 30, is accused of beating, choking and cutting another inmate with a weapon fashioned from razor blades. Morrison has pleaded not guilty to deliberate homicide and is scheduled for trial in November. ..Source.. by BillingsGazette

Monday, October 1, 2012

4 arrested, fifth suspect sought in beating, strangulation of man

10-1-2012 Washington:

TACOMA, Wash. -- Four people have been arrested and a fifth suspect is beijung sought in the death of a man found bound, brutally beaten and strangled outside a Graham home last week.

Dean Barker was found dead outside a vacant home in the 22200 block of 124th Ave. E. on the night of Sept. 8. Investigators said 51-year-old Barker's hands were bound behind his back, his mouth taped shut and a red bandanna tied around his neck. An autopsy revealed he had been beaten and strangled.

Four people -- Angela King, 24; William Barry, 33; Justin Mahaffey, 23; and a 17-year-old suspect whom KOMO has chosen not to identify-- are being held on $2 million bail. They have not been charged.

Police are also seeking 30-year-old Jeffrey W. Powell, II, who has been charged with first-degree murder, first-degree robbery and kidnapping in the first degree. A warrant has been issued for his arrested

When questioned by investigators, several of the suspects said they abducted and beat Barker because they believe he had molested a toddler, according to the statement of probable case. One suspect claimed Barker had also sexually assaulted a woman.

However, Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said the suspects' claim of vigilante justice for the victim's alleged sex crimes may not be true as investigators have not found any evidence to support either claim.


"Why wait until weeks after the alleged sexual assault? Why take the victim's watch? Why steal the victim's money?" said Lindquist.

After the beating, the suspects took Barker's wallet and split the cash, they told investigators. They also tied a red bandanna around his neck to "mark him, as Mahaffey belongs to a blood gang, the statement said.

The 17-year-old suspect said she participated in the beating, but did not accompany the others to the home where the victim was abandoned. King said she went to the Graham home, but stayed in the car while Mahaffey and Powell walked Barker out of the car. She said Barker was still alive when she and Mahaffey left the scene.

The four suspects are due in court on Tuesday. ..Source.. by KOMO Staff